Should Childhood Vaccination Be Mandatory? Essay
In an ideal world, the answer would be “no” – because every parent would do the rational and socially responsible thing and have their children vaccinated to protect them and others around them from dreadful illnesses such as measles, mumps, chickenpox and whooping cough.
But we live in an era of fear, not reason. A small but significant number of parents have, for a variety of reasons, come to fear vaccines more than they fear infectious diseases.
So how do we, in a democratic society, deal with them?
First, we have to understand who “they” are. There is no massive anti-vaccination movement. The vast majority of Canadian children – roughly 90 to 95 per cent – are vaccinated by the time they enter school at age 5. Only about 2 per cent of parents are intractably against vaccinations – an oddball group of conspiracy theorists and religious zealots.
In recent years, however, we have seen the emergence of a rapidly growing group of skeptics, parents with a hodgepodge of doubts and fears, real or imagined.
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They believe vaccines are being rammed down their throats by greedy Big Pharma, that vaccines contain dangerous chemicals and that childhood illnesses are not as harmful as public-health officials make…